14 Popular Movies Filmed in Kauai – Places you can visit
The Hawaiian island of Kauai has been a setting for some famous movies that you might have watched. If you are looking to visit the island you can seek out the filming locations and feel like being in the movie. Have you missed any of these movies? It might be the best time to catch up with movies filmed n Kauai before your vacation to the island.
Many of the movies that are filmed in Kauai use it as a jungle setting. Due to its relative ease of access from Los Angeles, Hollywood loves to film in the jungles around Kauai. Read on to learn about all the famous movies that were filmed on Kauai. Also, before you travel don’t forget to check out our insanely cheap flights for the best price.
1. Jurassic Park (1993)
Did you know that the very first Jurassic Park movie used Kauai as a filming location? In the Jurassic Park movie, Kauai was a stand-in for the Dominican Republic. One of the natural beauties featured in the movie is Hoopii Falls which you can access via some hiking.
The Kapaa was also used for filming the Costa Rica scenes. The whole waterfront was set up as an outdoor café in the movie.
Na Pali Coast also makes an appearance towards the beginning of the movie. The best way to see this attraction is by completing a flying tour of the island.
2. Jurassic World (2015)
More than 20 years later, Jurassic World returns for filming in Kauai. You can visit locations like Mount Waialeale and Olokele Valley, to feel like being in the movie.
You can even find some old and new Jurassic Park sets scattered around the island. Unfortunately, hurricanes destroyed most of the sets, but with even the new movies using the island, you can definitely stumble upon interesting finds.
3. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)
Kauai has a lot of jungle locations, so it’s only natural that the filming crew of the Pirates of the Caribbean decided to visit the island.
You will find the Honopu Arch making an appearance in the movie. Once again, this is a location that you can only access by boat or air. Jhonny Depp himself arrived in a helicopter for the filming.
Waikapalae was also heavily featured in the film. It was used as the grotto that leads to the ‘Fountain of Youth’. You will find it on the north side of the island.
4. Tropic Thunder (2008)
Hollywood’s favorite jungle filming location was once again utilized for the movie Tropic Thunder. Although the movie actually takes place in Vietnam, almost all of it was filmed in Kauai. The producers absolutely loved the local jungle scenery and used it to replace the Vietnamese jungle.
Tropic Thunder is one of the most high-profile movies ever filmed in Kauai. It’s very hard to pin down exact filming locations as most of the movie takes place in the jungle, so wherever you go hiking and exploring, you will already feel like being in Tropic Thunder.
5. Avatar (2009)
Avatar was a true one-hit wonder for 3D movies. No one can deny that it was a technological marvel that still stands out very well today. For the most part, the movie used CGI scenes and characters however, the crew filmed for around five days in Keahua Arboretum. You can visit this national preserve to relive the non-CGI moments from Avatar.
6. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Another classic. Raiders of the Lost Ark is the first Indiana Jones movie. When directing the movie, Steven Spielberg decided on Kauai as the opening scenes location. The Huleia River and Kipu Ranch portrayed the Peruvian jungle where you first met Indiana Jones as the viewer.
7. The Descendants (2011)
2011 movie The Descendants feature Kauai very heavily. The main move is actually playing out in Hawaii so it was only natural to shoot multiple scenes in Kauai.
If you are looking to visit the filming locations you need to seek out places like Lihue airport and the Hanalei Bay area. They were both heavily featured in the movie.
8. King Kong (1976)
The original King Kong movie has featured tons of jungle scenes. King Kong was originally from the wilderness according to the movie. Kalalau Valley was featured heavily in the filming of King Kong. Once again this is a place where a fly-over tour is the best way to visit.
9. Soul Surfer (2011)
We are sure that Soul Surfer is a very familiar movie for surfing fanatics. Did you know that most of the movie was shot on the North Coast of Kauai? Tunnels Beach was used as the place for surfing in many of the scenes. Kalalau Trail and Hanalei Pier also made appearances in the movie.
10. Disney’s Jungle Cruise (2021)
The most recent movie filmed in Kauai is Disney’s very own Jungle Cruise. Starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Emily Blunt it was a summer hit in 2021. Most of the movie was filmed in Kauai. The filming crew built up the entire Porto Belo in Kauai.
11. Fast & the Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)
Another very recent movie that decided to utilize Kauai for its filming is the Fast & the Furious spin-off called Hobbs & Shaw. In the movie the island replaced Samoa. The ‘Hobbs Custom’ main building was set in the Old Sugar Mill of Kauai. If you want to visit it you’ll have to go to the town of Koloa in South Kauai.
12. South Pacific (1958)
One of the earliest examples of a hit movie that was filmed in Kauai. In fact, South Pacific is responsible for making Hawaii and especially Kauai a preferred romantic holiday destination. This romantic movie has featured many of the striking natural wonders that you can find on the island. Even today, they are there and you can visit them.
13. Blue Hawaii (1961)
When Elvis Presley decided to film a movie he felt that Kauai would be the perfect location. You can go to Lydgate Park if you want to visit the filming locations for this movie.
14. Lilo & Stitch (2002)
Although Lilo & Stitch is a cartoon movie, the creators were heavily inspired by Kauai. It’s well known that they studied the island and its towns to recreate in the movie. We think they did a terrific job! Kauai looks just as awesome in Lilo & Stitch as it does in real life.
The Most Famous Movies Filmed in Kauai
These 14 movies are the most famous amongst the list of films that used Kauai as their setting. With many recent entries, we are sure that you are familiar with most of the movies on the list. In case you are planning a visit to Kauai make sure to check out some of the filming locations.
Not only these locations are awesome, but they were chosen for a very good reason. Almost all of them are extremely beautiful places. You will find Kauai very beautiful in general, but these locations are just cherry on top of the cake. Don’t forget: the best way to see them is a fly-over tour.